CMS boosts Medicare payments for providers for administering at-home COVID-19 vaccinations

The Biden administration is boosting payments for providers that administer in-home COVID-19 vaccinations as it races to reach Americans who have been reluctant to get the shot.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Wednesday that Medicare will pay providers an extra $35 per dose for each vaccine administered in the home. This increases the total amount from $40 to $75 per dose, and a two-dose vaccine will receive a total payment of $150.

“CMS is committed to meeting the unique needs of Medicare consumers and their communities—particularly those who are homebound or who have trouble getting to a vaccination site,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure in a statement Wednesday.

This is the latest boost CMS has given for COVID-19 vaccinations. Back in March, the agency raised the payment rate for physicians, hospitals and other immunizers to $40 for each dose of a vaccine. That was an increase from $28 for a single dose and an increase from approximately $45 to $80 for administering two doses.

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CMS also updated toolkits for providers, states and insurers to administer the vaccines with the new rates.

Since March, vaccination eligibility has expanded to everyone aged 12 and above, and vaccination supply has started to outstrip demand.

The announcement comes as the Biden administration has been making a concerted push to vaccinate Americans in hard-to-reach areas and to convince reluctant Americans to get the shot. Biden made a goal of having 70% of all U.S. adults get at least their first dose by July 4.

The pandemic has also caused an increase in home health care thanks in part to greater flexibility by Medicare to reimburse providers for telehealth and other forms of virtual healthcare.